DETROIT — The used batteries in the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf electric car are getting a second life in commercial applications instead of just being scrapped, General Motors and Nissan said this week.
General Motors on Tuesday announced that used lithium-ion batteries from the Volt are helping to keep the lights on at the new General Motors Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground in Michigan.
The announcement about the alternative use for Volt batteries comes as production is about to kick off on the second-generation 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which is expected to arrive at Chevrolet dealerships in the second half of this year.
"It's time to begin tapping the energy left in batteries from first-generation models," said GM in a statement.
It turns out that there's a lot of leftover juice for secondary use in the Leaf and Volt batteries.
Most lithium-ion batteries in vehicles such as the Leaf can last about 10 years. GM said even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains.
The batteries used at the Milford location can provide back-up power to the building for four hours in the event of an outage. Excess energy is sent back to the grid that supplies the Milford facility.
Nissan and Green Charge Networks, a provider of commercial energy storage, are deploying second-life lithium-ion batteries for stationary commercial energy storage in the U.S. and overseas.
Like General Motors, Nissan will first use a combined Leaf battery storage unit at a Nissan facility starting this summer, Nissan said in a statement.
Edmunds says: Environmentally conscious car shoppers will be pleased to hear that the batteries in the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf will be useful long after they leave the driveway.